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Hilltown Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, April 28, 2011

One rejected petition leaves two unopposed for school board

By Zach Simeone

BERNE — As the May 17 budget and school board vote approaches at Berne-Knox-Westerlo, two candidates will run unopposed for the two open seats, after a third petition was rejected at this Monday’s school board meeting.

School board President Maureen Sikule will be running to keep her seat, and newcomer Vasilios Lefkaditis, who also serves on the district’s budget advisory committee, will be running for the other open seat; board member Sean O’Connor will not be running for re-election.

Gerald Larghe, who ran for school board last year and lost, wanted to run as well, but his only chance at a seat on the school board this year will be with a write-in campaign.

Another district resident, David Lendrum, is also launching a write-in campaign.

“I am running for the Berne-Knox-Westerlo School Board as a write-in candidate, seeing the lack of choices in the upcoming election,” Lendrum wrote in an e-mail to The Enterprise. “I know that it may be a long shot, not being on the ballot, but it is worth a try.”

Larghe could not be reached for comment before press time, but board member Carolyn Anderson spoke on the board’s behalf on Wednesday; Sikule, who normally acts as spokesperson for the board, has recused herself from discussing or voting on the issue, as she will be running in this year’s race.

Residents who wish to run for school board are required to get a petition from the district office and amass a list of signatures either from 25 residents, Anderson said, or from 2 percent of those who voted in the previous year’s election, whichever is greater.

“There were three pages to his petition,” Anderson said of Larghe’s form, “each having a portion of signatures, and I believe the total was about 34 signatures. Two entries on the first page had an address and a date, but no signature. I would assume he had planned to get those signatures and didn’t reach the people. The combination of the total pages was 16 proper signatures. The middle page was the problem; people had printed their names…but with no address, and no date. The importance of the address helps to confirm the validity of them being a qualified district voter.”

At the meeting Monday, the board adopted a resolution that included the following passage: “The District Clerk is hereby directed to publish an election ballot for the May 17th election which includes the names of Maureen Sikule and Vasilios Lefkaditis as candidates for election to the Board of Education in that order, and the District Clerk is further directed to not include Gerald Larghe’s name on the ballot for the May 17th election.”

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